Nicholas Lancaster (e-mail: email@example.com), Desert Research Institute, 2215 Raggio Parkway, Reno, NV 89512, USA
Desert dune dynamics and development: insights from luminescence dating
Article first published online: 28 AUG 2008
© 2008 The Author, Journal compilation © 2008 The Boreas Collegium
Special Issue: Luminescence dating of Quaternary sediments
Volume 37, Issue 4, pages 559–573, November 2008
How to Cite
LANCASTER, N. (2008), Desert dune dynamics and development: insights from luminescence dating. Boreas, 37: 559–573. doi: 10.1111/j.1502-3885.2008.00055.x
- Issue published online: 20 OCT 2008
- Article first published online: 28 AUG 2008
- received 7th February 2008, accepted 18th July 2008.
The application of luminescence dating to aeolian sands in desert regions has revolutionized our understanding of the dynamics of these systems on centennial to millennial time scales. The availability of increasingly precise numerical ages for periods of aeolian deposition has provided information on rates of dune migration and accumulation of sand and supported new models of dune development. When combined with information on dune stratigraphy and morphology, clustering of luminescence ages shows that most dunefields and many large dunes are composite features that have developed as a result of multiple periods of aeolian construction separated by periods of non-deposition or erosion. Numerical ages have enabled identification of the timing and duration of these periods of aeolian activity and facilitated understanding of the conditions in which they occurred via correlation with other sources of palaeoenvironmental proxy data. The result is a much-enhanced conceptual and empirical understanding of how desert dunes and sand seas have responded to Quaternary changes in climate and sea level, manifested by changes in sediment supply, availability and mobility.